Women’s Small Business – Is your problem solving rational or intuitive?

Your ability to solve problems effectively contributes greatly to your success. People tend to prefer left brain rational over right brain intuitive; however, using both styles at the same time, lead to the best solutions.

Rational problem solving entails a step-by-step process :  define the problem, research the facts, determine all possible causes, identify a variety of possible solutions, select one to try first, make a plan, including a timeline,  execute and evaluate the plan.  Repeat these steps as necessary until you settle upon a solution.  This is an analytical, deliberate, conscious and cyclical process.  Taking action on a less-than-ideal solution will yield more information that may eventually lead you to a solution, rather than working towards the perfect solution.  Remember, it’s a process.  And maintaining action is better than getting stalled out in indecision.

A research study in a 2011 academic journal, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, indicated another valid approach called intuitive problem solving.  This approach produces more creative solutions, and is used more by women than men.  Steve Jobs was viewed by many as an intuitive problem solver in his creative way of thinking.  This approach produces “aha” moments as you ponder the problem as a question in your mind during routine times of daily living, avoiding any analyzation of the question.  Paying attention to dreams and random thoughts allows you to be ready to receive the solution when it pops into your mind;  changing up your routine, or meditating or deep relaxation can enhance this spontaneous emergence of solutions.  This process takes less time, and is more automatic.

Some prefer to use the rational style for business issues while preferring the intuitive style for people issues.  Together they offer the most creative and most practical solutions to problems.  Even though you may prefer one style, both can be practiced so that you can use them appropriately and effectively, no matter what problem presents itself.  Maintaining versatility in problem-solving skills helps you build your confidence to address problems quickly and effectively.

(Thanks to Judith C. Tingley, DTM, Ph.D, for her thoughts about new brain science.)

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